The 2023 NFL Draft is upon us, and eventually, the final of the groups looking for quarterback assist are set to handle the place — or at the least try to take action. And but there stays a looming domino right here, within the type of Ravens star Lamar Jackson. While Aaron Rodgers’ anticipated commerce from the Packers to the Jets has but to happen, nobody expects that transition to go awry; it is a matter of when, not if, Rodgers can be moved. Jackson, however, is a complete unknown when it comes to his 2023 vacation spot.
Basically each remaining QB-needy workforce has shied away from pursuing the previous MVP underneath the non-exclusive franchise tag, seemingly cautious of Jackson’s price ticket coming off two injury-riddled seasons. That would appear to make Baltimore the favourite to retain the QB for 2023. Jackson reportedly had a direct hand within the Ravens’ latest signing of huge receiver Odell Beckham Jr., signaling a possible reconciliation. But he is additionally simply weeks faraway from going public with a commerce request.
How a lot will this ongoing state of affairs have an effect on groups poised to take a QB early within the draft? Here are some logical implications:
How Jackson impacts the Panthers
He would not. The minute Carolina pulled the set off on a soar from No. 9 to the No. 1 total choose, the Panthers had been set on handpicking a homegrown face of the franchise. What occurs with Jackson has no bearing on the very high of the draft, the place Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud figures to stroll the stage first.
How Jackson impacts the Texans
Again, he actually would not. Houston is constructing from the bottom up (once more), and new coach DeMeco Ryans needs his first choose to “develop” with the franchise, not are available in and be an instantaneous “savior.” Even if the Texans inexplicably move on both Stroud or Young with the No. 2 total choose, they have the No. 12 choose of their again pocket for a swing at one other QB prospect.
How Jackson impacts the Colts
This is the massive one. Until lately, the Colts had been basically the one workforce that hadn’t expressly dominated out pursuing Jackson through commerce or free company. Technically, they might nonetheless be in play, however now workforce brass is hinting they’d choose to rebuild the place organically. That makes them apparent favorites to focus on a QB after the consensus high two prospects, particularly Florida’s Anthony Richardson or Kentucky’s Will Levis. Thing is, if they don’t seem to be after Jackson, they may nonetheless want to maneuver round to safe their most well-liked various, with the Cardinals doubtless auctioning the No. 3 choose to different QB-needy golf equipment.
How Jackson impacts groups selecting after the Colts
If we’re assuming the Colts are out on Jackson (and, frankly, they will should determine as a lot earlier than the draft, or else they may additionally miss out on touchdown a high prospect), then the strain can be ratcheted up on each different candidate to take a QB within the first spherical, together with the Seahawks (Nos. 5, 20), Lions (Nos. 6, 18), Raiders (No. 7), Titans (No. 11), Commanders (No. 16), Buccaneers (No. 19) and Vikings (No. 23). Why? Because if Indy finds a option to safe the next-best factor after Stroud and Young (as an example Richardson, only for the sake of the argument), meaning solely Levis and Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker are left as official Day One prospects for seven groups, if no more, that would need a brand new long-term QB.
How Jackson impacts all QB-needy groups
More than something, Jackson’s lingering disconnect with the Ravens ought to not directly reiterate the worth of groups extending a QB early. Jackson might or might not warrant no matter profitable deal he is sought, and his lack of official illustration might have unwisely delayed negotiations. But the very fact of the matter is, you are typically higher off locking up a QB too early slightly than too late.
In Jackson’s present state of affairs, the Ravens have basically postponed all main offseason exercise, save for an overpriced wager on Beckham, due to the uncertainty at QB. If/after they do retain Jackson, they will doubtless both be paying greater than they’d like (particularly now that inferior abilities like Daniel Jones have netted top-eight QB cash, or $40-plus million per 12 months), or suspending long-term plans till 2024, after they’d be confronted with doubtlessly tagging Jackson or letting him stroll for actual.
Even in the event that they do kiss and make up with a long-term deal, their inside divide has already gone public. Like the Cardinals with Kyler Murray, there is not a transparent path to a dedicated, cordial marriage after what’s transpired, no matter no matter deal will get signed.
It’s a slight mirror to Washington’s notorious dealing with of Kirk Cousins years in the past. That workforce preferred Cousins sufficient to endorse him as their man, however not sufficient to push negotiations over the end line, and in the long run, Washington ended up overpaying Cousins on back-to-back franchise tags earlier than granting him his freedom — and a significant pay increase — in free company. The Cowboys practically adopted an analogous path with Dak Prescott, inking him to one of many greatest QB offers in historical past days after tagging him a second time.
That does not imply groups ought to rush to commit high greenback to any previous QB. Again, among the issues concerning Jackson are truthful, simply as they had been with Cousins. But some would argue Dallas hamstrung its means to take care of a star supporting solid by ready to increase Prescott. And we have additionally seen latest examples of groups securing younger QBs at profitable however cheap costs, then efficiently maneuvering out of these extensions later: the Eagles and Rams notably prolonged Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, respectively, however traded them comparatively shortly in favor of superior replacements, each of which went on to begin Super Bowls.
This is a good distance of claiming that each NFL workforce eyeing a QB within the 2023 draft can use Jackson as the most recent instance of what to not shoot for when it comes time to debate a brand new deal. And if the QB finally ends up pushing for extra assured cash, as Jackson has reportedly executed, then assembly within the center on a shorter deal — just like the Vikings supplied Cousins in 2020 free company — could possibly be best. This can be a reiteration of the significance of the fifth-year possibility, which solely comes with first-round picks; anybody with even a shade of curiosity in spending an early choose on a QB this 12 months ought to prioritize having a further 12 months of contractual management.
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